What do you want to be when you grow up?
Now, adults are hoping for answers like, ‘I want to be an astronaut or I want to be a neurosurgeon’… Kids, they’re most likely to answer with, ‘pro-skate boarder, surfer, Mindcraft player’…us kids are going to answer what we are stoked on, what we think is cool…that’s typically not what adults want to hear.
…When I grow up, I want to be happy.
Young Logan stands out for several obvious reasons. Not only because of his outstanding performance on stage giving a TEDx Talk, a feat that would make most adults’ stomach turn, and not because he dispels the myth that homeschoolers are social misfits. It’s more than that; Logan cracked open the door and allowed the world to peek into home education at its finest.
Educators and parents, many perhaps for the first time, got a glimpse of what an adolescent boy looks like when he’s thriving in an environment that nurtures and values his unique potential.
The type of schooling that Logan is experiencing is actually second-generation “Delight-Directed” learning.
Gregg Harris introduced this philosophy of education to the homeschooling community in the 1980s, around the time I brought our oldest children home. The Delight-Directed theory rests on the idea that children learn best when academics center on their interests and talents.
The thrust of a child’s education is around real world situations in which they have an interest. In our family that meant my eldest daughter spent the bulk of her junior year in high school shadowing a veterinarian in her clinic, which equipped her to land a job in the Necropsy Lab at the University of Illinois, where she spent the majority of her senior year. For my son, it meant working on home construction sites from the age of 12, which equipped him to launch his own crew and become an employer just barely into his twenties.
Most doors were closed to homeschoolers then, and dial-up Internet was the height of technology. We just scratched the surface of what this young man called, “hack schooling.” In essence it’s really Delight-Directed 3.0.
Today there is a universe of knowledge to draw from, right at their fingertips. Creativity and innovation coupled with the ability to work without a foreman looking over their shoulder, will be the most valuable skill sets to master for this generation. I’ll wager the market will demand it, but few will be able to supply it.
Logan has a great shot at achieving his goal of health, happiness and the career of his choice. Although his message needs to be heard he’s talking to the wrong audience. A government-controlled educational system is incompatible and incapable of producing the kind of education that will put students on the same path. It’s fatally flawed at one critical point: its view of humanity.
It is a system that does not recognize man as a unique individual, with a purpose and meaning to his life that only he can fulfill. Rather, it see’s him as a product of his environment, with his only value as a small part of a larger whole–the citizenry. In Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning he calls it man’s “nothingbutness.”
Admittedly there are teachers that care deeply for their students. Many stories are told of one teacher who saw something special in a child and made a difference in his life. They are there, and thank God for them. However, you show me a teacher of that caliber, and I’ll show you someone that holds dear the value of an individual.
Logan might find the happiness he seeks, but not because of where he is taught. But rather, because the people directing his education do not view him as merely a walking result of “biological, sociological and psychological” conditions–one of billions just like him.
He is deeply loved. Love in the manner that Frankl describes makes parents the most qualified people to direct the education of their children and insure their path to happiness by helping them find their unique role in the universe.
“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
Of course, Frankl was not speaking of homeschooling, or necessarily parental love for that matter. However, it couldn’t be truer of both. I’ve always believed that God gives parents His eyes to see their children the way He sees them—past behavior and into the heart and potential. In the eyes of a parent, as with our heavenly Father, each child is irreplaceable.
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. “
Through the eyes of love, a child’s potential is as real to his parents as the color of his hair. Their task, to actualize what is not yet actualized, but ought to be, undoubtedly also brings meaning into their own lives as well.
An institution can never duplicate this. Sadly, as Logan observed, the opposite is true and most kids step into a classroom each day only wishing they were healthy, happy, safe from being bullied, and wanting be loved for who they are.